St. Patrick's Day in Boston
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Communion (1995 Series)

St. Patrick's Day in Boston

Scheduled for March 16

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of the Irish, and (one suspects) also of the drunk. 

It is the custom in the city of Boston that anyone with an Irish surname can get a free drink in any bar (on St. Patrick’s Day) in the city merely by presenting identification.  So it was that a gentleman of obvious Oriental extraction, Japanese to be specific, pounded upon the bar and demanded his free drink.  The bartender, naturally, was dubious.  He demanded a driver’s license.  It was promptly produced.  The bartender poured him a shot of the finest Irish whisky available.

 

And what would you do for a man named “Ohara?”

 

Nothing so marks the American spirit as this:  we are a melting pot of culture.  My long ago ancestors came from Germany, only to have their descendant discover the wonders of Mexican cuisine.  Surely no nation on earth cares so little about one’s ancestors.  It is a complete joy to know that my grandfather was born (literally) on the wrong side of the tracks -- and that it matters not at all.

 

Or does it?

 

It is my unfortunate observation that the church, like our society, divides itself into various classes.  There are the “ins” and there are the “outs.”  We are pious enough on Sunday to proclaim that Jesus died for all -- but on Monday we know who’s who.

 

Abraham Lincoln once remarked that God must have loved the common man--he made so many of them.  The Lord’s Supper is a time when we must examine ourselves, and I must suggest to you that this week, the week most associated with St. Patrick and the “lower classes”, you need to examine your attitude towards those who don't live as you do.  Do you really recognize that Christ died for them, too?  Indeed, if you will look at the Scripture, Christ said to the sinner, the prostitute, the thieving bureaucrat -- the workaday stiff -- repent.  But to the pious, the religious leader, the proud, he said, “Be born again.”  He recognized that being privileged is a terrible disadvantage:  it makes you believe that you are indeed self sufficient.  You may think you are.  Tell me, then, how you plan to conquer death!

 

We must face it:  no matter how rich or how poor, how politically correct or disfavored, how fashionable or how bovine, all of us stand in the same relationship to God.  The ground is level at the foot of the Cross.  Each and every one of us must acknowledge the same thing, or die:  “God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

 

Examine yourself;  ask his mercy.  It is as sure as sunrise.

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